Alpine Sister Gets Her Cramp-on!

shawna macnamara cramponsMy sister lives in New York City, and she basically gets after it, whatever it is. Whether she’s attending a Volkswagen rally in her VW Vanagon, making a pot of chili in her Crock Pot, or hiking in the Alps, she goes for it, fully.

A few summers ago, I hooked her up with one of my friends who is a French mountain guide in Chamonix, France. He had her climbing ice in no time (above, right) and joining the throngs of alpine mountaineers on early morning glacier treks.


Of course, all of this activity required mountaineering boots fitted with crampons. Despite having little experience walking with spikes on her boots, she wasn’t afraid to hang out on the top of a razor-sharp summit ridge:

shawna macnamara 2

Next task? Climbing Mont Blanc, Western Europe’s highest peak. The hike to the summit involved very crampon-necessary slopes such as this one:

mont blanc climb

And a few icy sections such as this one, in which crampons were instrumental:

shawna macnamara 3

Finally, she stood on the summit of Mont Blanc and looked around, across the borders of France, Italy, and Switzerland:

shawna macnamara 4

But reaching the summit only took about half the day; the descent was equally steep…

descending mont blanc

…with icy, snow-covered slopes.

final descent shot

Proper gear–including crampons and ice axes–and proper technique were essential to the success of these adventures. But the desire for some good, sisterly fun inspired them all. Thanks, sista!

Want to know more about how to choose the correct crampons for your alpine hiking and climbing adventures?
Click here to read my article on the Survival Skills website:
“Crampons: Types, Uses, and Tips”
When you’re out hiking in steep terrain and icy conditions, crampons may be essential to your survival. Crampons are sharp metal spikes that attach to footwear, enabling hikers and climbers to travel more safely over snow and ice…click here to continue reading

Photos © Traci J. Macnamara


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